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MPs want Shs2.1Bn injected in J&M Hotel recovered

Public Accounts Committee Chairperson, Hon. Reagan Okumu (L) speaking to journalists recently

PARLIAMENT – Legislators on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) want the Ministry of Finance to move swiftly and recover Shs2.1Bn that was injected in J&M Airport Road Hotel in Entebbe by Government.

The MPs were interfacing with the officials of the Ministry of Finance to respond to the 30th June 2016 Audit queries raised in the Auditor General’s report.

J&M Airport Road Hotel on Entebbe Road. MPs want the shs2.1bn recovered (FILE PHOTO)

The Auditors noted that the Ministry of Finance injected Shs2.1Bn into the Hotel during the Common Wealth Heads of State Meeting (CHOGM) in 2007, but 7years down the road, Government is yet to be issued with a share certificate by the Hotel directors.

The then Accountant General, Lawrence Semakula wrote to J&M Airport Hotel owners seeking information on Government’s net worth and shareholding; dated on 4th August 2014 (FILE PHOTO)

Documents tabled before the Committee showed that Lawrence Semakula who was acting as Accountant General at the time, wrote a letter on 4th August 2014 asking the owners of the hotel to provide information on Government’s net worth and shareholding so as to enable the Ministry consolidate its investments in the institution’s financial statements.

Goodra Tumusiime Behakanira Director for J&M Airport Road Hotel wrote to the Ministry of Finance on 24th September 2010 denying knowledge on information regarding Government’s shares.

Goodra Behakanira (L) after receiving her doctorate from United Graduate College and Seminary International of Tennesse, US, 2014 (ARCHIVES PHOTO)

She argued that the transaction was carried and concluded by her late husband Joseph Behakanira and therefore, she had no prior knowledge and needed time to cross examine and study the documents pertaining to this transaction.

Tumusiime continued: “The late Joseph and I were the only directors of the said company. I cannot make a company resolution alone to allot Government her shareholding at this point in time.”

The Ministry promised to continue engaging the shareholders on how to obtain the share certificates/ recover the funds and revealed that the issue has also been forwarded to Solicitor General for guidance on what legal action can be taken to recover the said funds and further management.

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